Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dispelling Myths About Nuclear Energy

Over at the Heritage Foundation, Jack Spencer and Nick Loris wrote an excellent nuclear myth-busting piece on topics about proliferation, terrorism, waste, lifecycle emissions, and economics just to name a few. Enjoy.

MYTH: There is no solution to the problem of nuclear waste.

FACT: The nuclear industry solved the nuclear waste problem decades ago.

Spent nuclear fuel can be removed from the reac­tor, reprocessed to separate unused fuel, and then used again. The remaining waste could then be placed in either interim or long-term storage, such as in the Yucca Mountain repository. France and other countries carry out some version of this pro­cess safely every day. Furthermore, technology ad­vances could yield greater efficiencies and improve the process. The argument that there is no solution to the waste problem is simply wrong.

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MYTH: Incidents at Davis-Besse, Vermont Yankee, and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa demonstrate that continued use of nuclear power will lead to another Chernobyl.

FACT: The real consequences of these three inci­dents demonstrate that nuclear power is safe.

Perhaps the greatest myths surrounding nuclear power concern the consequences of past accidents and their association with current risks. All of these myths depend on a basic construct of flawed logic and misrepresentations that is riddled with logical and factual errors.

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MYTH: Nuclear energy is not economically viable.

FACT: Nuclear energy already provides about 20 percent of America's electricity.

Investors are not averse to nuclear power. Utility companies with nuclear experience have sought to purchase existing plants, are upgrading their exist­ing power plants, and are extending their operating licenses so that they can produce more energy for a longer time. Indeed, nuclear energy is so economi­cally viable that it provides about 20 percent of America's electricity despite the incredibly high reg­ulatory burden.

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1 comment:

CandyMan said...

About the Myth/Fact format, it doesn't work. You should really rephrase the myths such that statements like "nuclear energy is not economically viable" do not appear or simply do not state the myth at all. A recent study from the University of Michigan (Washington Post arcticle about it here ) shows that if you put the false statement next to the true statement, people of all ages will remember 40% of the myths as fact after only 3 days. Except now it's worse, since the source (the article example includes a CDC myth/fact release on the flu) was credible. So in general, those who read the pamphlet truly believe as fact 40% of what the CDC said is NOT true.